Prince Albert metropolis council has denied an application to construct a residential care home for in danger males at 2201 First Avenue West.
Mayor Greg Dionne was one in all 5 council members to vote in opposition to the joint proposal from River Bank Development Corp. and the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan. He mentioned the care home thought was an excellent one, however couldn’t assist the undertaking as a result of native residents have been in opposition to it.
“The neighbours don’t need it,” Dionne mentioned throughout Monday’s assembly. “I perceive the place they’re coming from, and it’s nothing (adverse) in regards to the John Howard Society. It’s nothing (adverse) about River Bank. It’s in regards to the high quality of life that they anticipated after they purchased their properties in that neighbourhood.”
Dionne mentioned the 2200 block was an older neighbourhood, however younger households have been shifting in and fixing up the world. He advised council he toured the world on Sunday, and couldn’t discover a single resident who supported the proposal. He mentioned these voices wanted to be heard too.
“We’re right here to hearken to the residents, not simply John Howard” he added. “They don’t stay subsequent door…. The pregnant woman along with her two younger children lives subsequent door, and they’ve simply as a lot weight, in my view, on this chamber as anybody else.”
Couns. Ted Zurakowski, Blake Edwards, Don Cody and Tony Head additionally voted in opposition to the proposal, in a detailed 5-4 determination.
All 4 mentioned they sympathized with each the John Howard Society and River Bank, and lauded the work each organizations do. However, that wasn’t sufficient to persuade them to provide their assist.
Cody mentioned he was leaning in direction of supporting the application till he learn letters from residents who lived within the space and opposed it. Zurakowski additionally mentioned he got here to council in search of causes to assist the undertaking, however hesitated to take action with out additional session.
“I’m looking for a solution to say sure,” Zurakowski mentioned in the course of the assembly. “The of us residing round that space, I’ve been chatting with them and speaking with them, (and) I don’t suppose they’re being unreasonable. Some of their considerations have been answered, and I’m grateful for that, however a few of the considerations nonetheless stay.”
“This is a tough downside. There’s no query about that,” Cody added.
“I believe the John Howard Society does nice work as effectively, however, on the identical time we additionally have to take care of our personal residents. Sure, we’re going to attempt and rehabilitate 5 folks, however what are we going to do to … the others which can be round there? They have purchased properties there. They’ve made their residing there. They’ve made their livelihood there. They’re elevating their kids there, and hastily, we’re going to trigger nice upheaval to them.”
Edwards mentioned he thought the home was an ideal concept that stuffed a necessity Prince Albert desperately wanted. However, he additionally mentioned he wouldn’t assist a undertaking native residents have been so firmly in opposition to.
Head advised council the John Howard Society’s program was an excellent one, however he too was involved in regards to the suggestions he acquired from residents. Head mentioned he would have appreciated to see broader suggestions from those that stay additional than 75 meters away from the proposed growth. Zurakowski additionally mentioned he had considerations in regards to the session course of.
John Howard Society of Saskatchewan CEO Shawn Fraser mentioned he’s dissatisfied by council’s determination, however understood their have to weigh a number of considerations.
“It’s all the time tough for a growth of this nature. That’s simply the truth of zoning approvals when there’s some change coming to peoples’ neighbourhood,” Fraser mentioned throughout a cellphone interview on Tuesday. “I don’t fault council for having to make a fancy determination. Obviously, it wasn’t the end result we have been hoping for, however I notice metropolis council has a variety of pursuits they need to steadiness.”
Fraser added that they knew there have been some considerations, however had hoped they have been answered. He was significantly involved too many individuals didn’t perceive what kind of individuals can be residing in the home.
The John Howard Society has federal funding for the subsequent 4 years to implement a preventative anti-gang program for younger males in Prince Albert. Fraser mentioned they’d be working with males who transitioned out of Ministry of Social Services care after turning 18, since they’re essentially the most weak to gang recruitment.
“We’re making an attempt to catch them earlier than they fall via the cracks,” Fraser defined. “That’s to not say we might by no means work with a youth with a felony document. Obviously, there are many folks in society with a felony document. That’s simply the truth of it. But, it’s to say we might be working with younger folks the place hopefully we are able to have an effect on their lives earlier than they’re entrenched (in) the gang life-style.”
Fraser mentioned the 5 males residing in the home would have been beneath 24-hour supervision. The John Howard Society has seven comparable homes in Saskatoon and Regina, however nothing similar to what they have been making an attempt to arrange in Prince Albert.
He added that the preventative gang involvement program will nonetheless go forward as deliberate, however they could need to do with out the offering residing quarters and 24-hour supervision.
“We’ll have a case load throughout PA over the subsequent 4 years of about 15 folks at any given time,” Fraser mentioned. “We simply now have to determine how we’re going to try this supervised housing aspect, and what that’s going to seem like, as a result of that’s finally what was on the desk (at Monday’s assembly).”
Couns. Dawn Kilmer, Charlene Miller, Terra Lennox-Zepp and Dennis Ogrodnick all voted in favour of the joint application.
Ogrodnick was essentially the most vocal supporter. He argued Prince Albert desperately wanted the kind of service the John Howard Society hoped to offer, and had a observe document of success and needed to assist the neighborhood.
“It’s a tricky factor to have subsequent to you. I perceive that, and I perceive why residents don’t need it, however I believe with that concept of supervision and the programming, and the success of the John Howard Society, (it’ll work),” he advised council. “This isn’t a fly-by-night group. This is a well-established group than has finished tremendously good work…. We want extra of those properties. I might hope that if this one goes forward, the John Howard Society will open up 10 or 15 extra properties … so I urge council to take the robust stand and assist this.”
“If we wish to begin tackling the issues of gangs and crime and violence that we hear about, it is a solution to doing it,” he added.
Kilmer additionally mentioned properties like this have been desperately wanted in Prince Albert. She additionally challenged council members to seek out an appropriate location if 2201 First Avenue West wouldn’t work.
“If not there, the place?” she requested in the course of the assembly.
“At instances, laborious selections need to be made,” she added. “Our metropolis is one in all caring and compassionate folks … and I really feel that what the John Howard Society is making an attempt to do is set up a program the place younger males will be in an excellent neighbourhood, and can see the worth of themselves of their neighbours.”